Closing the Gender Gap By the end of this session attendees will develop their understanding of the male ego - primarily through what motivates it. Attendees will also learn how to encourage genderfriendly, proactive learning in their lessons. The alleged gender differences During the late eighties and early nineties with the increased use of PET brain scans some scientists began to suggest that boys and girls brains were differently ‘wired’ and therefore the differences in behaviour were innate and not learned (we shouldn’t however reject the possibility of behaviour being learnt!). The alleged gender differences According to the research those with the more male brains showed: According to the research those with the more female brains showed: • Higher levels of aggression and competitiveness • A better ability to handle space and shape • A desire to know the ‘big picture’ • Preference for learning through experimentation • Higher levels of passivity and greater tendency to cooperate. • A preference for detail • A reduced ability to handle shape and space • A more systematic approach to tasks. Swain’s spurious claim... We are all driven by our ego but this is manifested differently by each gender. ‘Boys’ manifest their ego’s desires through bravado and competition. Don’t believe me? Next time you’re around a group of ‘boys’ (or just ‘men’ in general) notice the use of numbers in their discourse i.e. “I had about 7 pints”, “I bench about 220kg”, “I got 5 phone numbers” etc. My spurious claim is somewhat misleading: just because boys brag and are competitive it doesn’t mean that we can win them over through competition in an attempt to see who’s the best. Males are keen for praise yet are desperately afraid of being singled out in front of their peers and so they resort to being ‘one of the lads’. My practitioner Enquiry Amongst your handouts you’ll see an example of a questionnaire I gave out to my students to garner their opinions on the matter of gender differences in the classroom. I’ve also created a précis of what I found to be the more interesting responses - for my teaching.